July 28, 2014

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Browns LB Marcus Benard blames stress for fainting episode

BEREA – Browns outside linebacker Marcus Benard said stress was the reason he fainted in the locker room last week. His third son was born prematurely Monday morning.

“It was stress-related, had a lot going on personally and just got to take care of my body better with the things that are going on,” he said Thursday.

Benard didn’t want to get into details, but Ashai Sharoz, which means “a special gift” in Muslim, was born prematurely. He said the majority of the worries are over.

“Everything’s all right,” Benard said. “He’s healthy, he’s big.”

Benard collapsed in the locker room Nov. 11 and spent about eight hours in the hospital. Doctors cleared him of any serious ailment and he played against the Jets, registering a sack to give him a team-high 5½ on the year.

“It was a little scary,” he said. “But I’m a fighter. My dad didn’t raise no punk. So it’s going to take a lot more than that to keep me away from football.”

Benard, who plays mostly in passing situations, is in line for a bump in playing time with starter Scott Fujita sidelined with a knee injury. Benard didn’t practice Wednesday with an illness but returned Thursday.

That’s just one of the injuries affecting the Browns.

Starting offensive lineman Eric Steinbach (calf) and Floyd Womack (knee) missed their second straight day of practice. Coach Eric Mangini hopes they can play Sunday in Jacksonville, but rookie Shawn Lauvao filled in at right guard and Steve Vallos at left guard. Vallos has eight starts in his career but hasn’t played in a game this year.

Defensive back Mike Adams (abdomen), linebacker Eric Barton (thigh) and defensive lineman Shaun Rogers (ankle) returned to practice Thursday.

Receiver/returner Joshua Cribbs (toes) and cornerback Sheldon Brown (shoulder) sat out again, but could play Sunday.

Mangini said he expects Jake Delhomme (ankle) to be healthy enough to be the third quarterback Sunday. Mangini said it was too early to tell if Delhomme could move ahead of Seneca Wallace as the backup to rookie Colt McCoy.

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